Employee With MS Denied Accommodation and Fired, Federal Agency Charged
CLEVELAND - Lifecare Medical Services, Inc., an Ohio medical transportation services company, will pay $72,500 and provide other relief in order to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Lifecare Medical Services, Inc., located in Akron, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it refused to provide reasonable accommodation to John Adair, an EMT-paramedic, who has multiple sclerosis. Adair had requested additional leave as a reasonable accommodation but instead was issued disciplinary actions and subsequently fired for absences related to his disability, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates the ADA. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (Case: 5:13-cv-01447) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The consent decree ending the case was signed by U.S. District Court Judge Sara Lioi on May 29, 2014. In addition to requiring the company to make the $72,500 payment to Adair, the three-year decree requires Lifecare Medical Services to revise its attendance and punctuality policy to include a procedure for invoking a request for reasonable accommodation; provide yearly training on the ADA and reasonable accommodation for all supervisory, managerial and human resources personnel; and post a notice regarding the outcome of the lawsuit on its employee bulletin board for three years.
"We are pleased with the terms of the consent decree and this company's commitment to prevent disability discrimination going forward," said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office, which oversees Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, and portions of New Jersey and Ohio.
According to the company's website, Lifecare Medical Services is a professional provider of basic and advanced medical transportation services, providing services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to customers in northeast, central, and southwest Ohio.
Addressing emerging and developing issues under the ADA (including issues such as reasonable accommodation), is one of the six national priorities identified by the EEOC in its Strategic Enforcement Plan.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.